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Heroes of the Storm AMA Transcript

by - 5 years ago

If you missed the Reddit AMA yesterday, we’ve got all the questions and answers right here, fully sourced. Questions centered mainly around UI, heroes, and skins, but it’s a LOT of answers about the process.
Some specific gems?

  • Deckard Cain is pretty much a lock to get added eventually, as is Kyle from Blizzard’s very old-school platformer Blackthorne.
  • Sylvanas will likely be added shortly after the beta starts up.
  • Characters from Overwatch likely won’t be added until after the game is actually released.

Read on for the full list of responses.


 

Will you add the ability to reroll daily quests the same way it’s possible in Hearthstone?

AlexSun: Agreed, that would be awesome. After this AMA, I’ll talk to the engineers and producers again to see how long it would take and where it could fall into our schedule. I can’t make any promises that it will come any time soon (we have a lot of cool features we’re working on), but we’ll do our best.
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Two questions about customization:

First, I’m a colorblind gamer (red/green), so I appreciate that you already have a colorblind mode; however, I was wondering if you’d consider putting in more color options to customize how the game looks, especially on the mini-map. One example of an area I struggle with is telling which player icons on the mini-map are on my team vs enemy team.

Question 2: I LOVE the talent system, but I have one small issue with it. Can you please allow us to put talents on any number on the talent bar please? Example, I pick up Envenom and it’s assigned to number #1, but I’m used to in on #2 on other characters, but I can’t move it until I pick up a second ability! This is a small, but meaningful change. Thanks!

AlexSun: I’ll pass both pieces of feedback along. If you want to elaborate and give more details, feel free. I’ll check back later before I talk to others.
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What do you guys think about rewarding players that reach level 40? There was a suggestion on here saying that maybe when players reach level 40 they could invite one friend to join them. Basically like a “refer a friend” kind of thing.

AlexSun: That sounds like a really cool reward for the Alpha. I can definitely pass that idea along.

To answer your question about rewarding players that reach level 40,we’re constantly discussing rewards for progression. We have our current level cap at 40 because once we release Ranked Play, players will unlock Hero League at level 30 and Team League at level 40.

If you have any other ideas for rewards you’d like to see, please post them. We read this subreddit quite often for ideas :).

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Do you plan to add fun heroes? These are iconic too, but in a different way. Couple of examples:

  • Treasure Goblin
  • Wirt, the 4 legged monster
  • The Cow King
  • Hogger
  • Leroy Jenkins
  • Aiur Chef

PIGonzales: We love fun heroes! The trick is knowing what hero & when to make additions to the game’s continued improvement.

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What’s the team’s opinion on Muradin at the moment?

BlizzCooper: We love Muradin, but we feel like he’s overshadowed by other Warrior’s at the moment. We recently tuned up his trait that provides his high sustainability. We’re also looking at potentially making some balance tweaks to his mana tension and usability of Haymaker. I believe the balance guys are also looking at the Dwarf Toss ability and potentially tuning this up slightly. When? Soon ™ 🙂

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Which heroes do you see as needing a substantial revamp before we reach beta and why? I know you guys hinted that Abathur, Li Li and maybe a few others were being looked at.

BlizzCooper: We’re planning reworks for a number of live heroes including Abathur and Li Li. For Abathur we really wanted to introduce another Heroic Ability so we’ve been trying to figure out what would best fit his play style or if there is a new build we wanted to create for him. For Li Li, we wanted to bring her up to par with some of our stronger support characters. What we’re testing internally right now for her includes quite a few new talents but also increases her healing capabilities quite a bit. We plan to update many heroes over time. Some other heroes we’re currently testing internally that are different from live include Uther and Raynor among others. We thought it was important to do a Raynor update sooner than later as this is the first hero players are introduced to during the tutorial.

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UI – I know this somewhat defeats the purpose, but any chances of having a way to remove heroes from your hero pool when choosing random?

I can play and enjoy a number of different heroes and roles and would like to choose random both for the fun and to further chances of a balanced team.

That being said there are some heroes I don’t like, some I still have talent gated, or let’s face it, some that are just weaker than the rest. If I could veto a few I’d be a lot more likely to play random.

BlizzDev_AlexSun: I understand where you’re coming from. I’m horrible with Zeratul. Currently, we have a more true iron man random where you’re stuck with what the RNG gave you and you can’t bail out. We could definitely soften it up a bit by doing what you suggested or by allowing you to see what hero you’ll get and allow you to reroll if you don’t like it. But, like you mentioned, if you can remove heroes from the pool, it somewhat defeats the purpose of random.

With that said, as we get more feedback and as we get more of our critical features implemented, we can definitely revisit.

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How many weeks would you guys say that it takes to create a hero that is ready to be released to us in alpha (all the art, talent design, voiceovers, etc)?

Do you expect this time to increase for post-launch (seeing that it’s not as much of a sandbox environment)

BlizzDev_PIGonzales: Hello Psy Tech, I can speak to the art side.

The Hero art creation takes about a 1-2 months. Our heroes are mostly established characters for other games, so the visual shapes up quickly over 2-3 weeks for character modeling and texturing. This is only accounting for the default hero model, and the default texture + 2 color variations.

We hand off the model to technical art for rigging (enabling the model to be animated) which can be done within a week depending on the complexity (limbs, cloth, etc).

The model is then assigned to an animator, the process of animating a hero can take about 1-2 weeks depending on the complexity and abilities.

Around this time we’ll also integrate the effects team who will create the artwork for abilities. This has varied amounts of time commitment, since some heroes have abilities that require summon monsters or special pieces of art to help visualize their abilities (Lili is a good example, she has dragons, cups, brew jugs, etc.).

We’ll have various reviews of the art as everything comes together, identifying details that need polish or improvement. This stage could entail many instances of the art asset returning to the different disciplines to adjust the model, texture, rig, animation, or effects.

When the asset is nearing completion, we can safely generate skins without the risk of redoing work. Our current task outline is Default Hero, Master Skin, and at least 1 additional skin + color variations for each model.

We typically test frequently once the model can be put in the engine and interacted with. We’ll continue adjusting the hero as abilities and talents are visualized to make sure the Hero is as polished as possible.
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Do you guys plan on adding any more angels from the Angiris Council as playable Heroes? Imperius would be a cool as hell warrior IMO.

BlizzDev_PIGonzales: I’d love to see the whole Angiris Council and the Prime Evils to contend with them, we’ll have to see what shapes up in the future.

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I love the crossover skins, Uther’s Medic, and the Altered Fate series. What process do you use when designing a new skin for a hero? Is it a challenge to avoid overlapping with another existing or planned hero?

BlizzDev_PIGonzales: I love crossover skins too! The process is pretty impulsive, we have a few themes that are starting shape up such as Mecha-characters (Anub’arak, Tassadar), and Specres (Nova, Illidan). Other themes are simply making an association (Uther would be a Medic in the SC2 universe).

It is a challenge to avoid overlap, and we try to be mindful of the overlap still looking like the hero in a costume rather than an outright representation of another hero.

For example, we recently had to rethink a future Stitches skin that was Diablo themed, it made him too close to the Butcher.

Our borderline is at characters like the alternate universe Malfurion, Illidan, and Tyrande. We don’t want to steal Maiev’s thunder, just harken to a cool look!

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Do you currently have any plans to go back to skins that have already been released to add skin-centric ability animations/mounts/ect like what you did with the Countess Kerrigan? If so would you be willing to give us a teaser/hint at which ones we might see tweaked? 🙂

P.S. The new model for ETC and Malf are amazing, really great stuff I can’t wait to see new models which come up.

BlizzDev_PIGonzales: YES, we have plans for many currently released skins that will get additional art support.

Our biggest undertaking right now is Abathur! Since Abathur is rarely seen, we wanted to put more emphasis on his ability art to make those visuals skin-centric so Abathur players can show off their cosmetic choices! We’re making new cocoons, symbioses hats, Locusts, and animations.

Our mecha characters are also getting more cosmetic support. Cyber Anub’arak’s abilities will have new art, in addition to Mecha Tassadar shooting missiles for his auto attack, a missile barrage for psi-storm, and transforming into a jet when he mounts.

Thanks for the love! I’m really glad to hear the new ETC and Malf are getting love, their overhauls were long overdue!

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Will you be including Kyle from Blackthorne as a hero?

BlizzDev_PIGonzales: Yes. There are concepts for the update in the office. When this becomes a reality – not sure yet!

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Thoughts about letting people grant access to friends?

Trikslyr: Great question. This was actually one of the main reasons why we were so interested in doing the Bring your Friends to the Brawl promotion. Even with that promotion, however, we weren’t able to invite all friends of level 20 players because we’re still in Tech Alpha where invites are pretty limited. We’ve said it several times now, but we can’t wait until more and more players (your friends especially) are able to get into the game.

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How often do you consult another team’s designers when creating a hero’s abilities? How do you decide when to deviate?

I spoke to a few Diablo developers at BlizzCon, and they mentioned that they were actually playing around with how some of the changed hero abilities might work in Diablo 3, like the Witch Doctor Wall of Corpses, which seems really interesting.

BlizzJohnzee: We often talk to other teams’ developers when we want feedback on a conceptual level, like when we’re looking for feedback on a particular Hero’s fantasy. Sometimes devs send us ideas or whole Hero pitches, too!

We try to strike a balance between staying true to a character’s iconic abilities/playstyle and what we find is fun, even if it changes those core abilities. The Wall of Corpses example you bring up is a good one: we changed the D3 Witch Doctor version to the Nazeebo circle version and added a delay, which makes for a really fun and tense moment for both the Nazeebo player and his potential victim.

At the end of the day, Heroes of the Storm is a different game from the other Blizzard games – we draw inspiration and ideas, but we feel free to explore the design space further when it fits!

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After launch, how do you guys intend to handle releasing new heroes? Do you have some sort of plan to PTR them? Or will you make them unavailable in ranked play for a couple of weeks? (Perhaps something like: “This hero is new to the Nexus and is unavailable for ranked play”)

It seems that hero balance has been very iffy lately, and I would hate to see a new hero introduced that wrecked rankings.

BlizzCooper: As Jaina is a Frost Mage, Ice Block seemed like a key talent we could make unique to her with Improved Ice Block. We’re not looking to replace every generic talent as we feel there’s value in having a mixture of generic and unique content. Expect to see more of this in the future. As we do our updates we’re always looking for generic talents that we could make unique to a hero.
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Also Jaina only has 4 talents per tier but all of them for the most part viable and well designed, will you continue this as a less is more approach?

BlizzCooper: Yes. It’s something we’ve been talking about a lot recently. We think Jaina is in a pretty good spot with her talents and are aiming for something similar with all our characters.
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How do you feel about the current balance of heroes and if you could add a single hero to the game, who would it be and why would it be Leroy Jenkins?

BlizzCooper: LEEEEROOOOOOY!!!
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What is your respective favorite food to order?

BlizzJohnzee: Chipotle Source

BlizzDev_PIGonzales: My top pick used to be Albatros Mexican food (R.I.P.).

“The Hat” across the street in Lake Forest has taken the top honors now. Source

Is there a chance that some heroes get specific mounts? Like Invincible for the Lich King Arthas, or Tyrande having a Frostsaber Mount from Wc3? Some of those seem so iconic that it feels like something is missing from those heroes.

Edit: Tyrael’s Charger!

BlizzDev_PIGonzales: Yes, there is a likely chance of hero specific mounts. The Mount system is still very lean compared to the skin content but our intention is to continue making mounts in the future.

The Witch Doctor’s Zebra is an existing example of a hero specific mount, and a test for future mounts for other heroes.
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  • BlizzDev_AlexSun – any chance for adding a in game feature that allow player to spectate live high-mmr matches of other people
  • BlizzJohnzee – did you guys consider addin gameplay affected interation beetwen heroes (i.e. if Sylvannas kill Arthas for the first time in game she gets somesort of buff or special effect or something…)
  • BlizzPIGonzales (being a graphic designer myself I’m a big fan of your work man<3) – can we expect adding more visual feedback on talent choices that we made in game (i.e what you did with a few talents – new animations for attack etc.)
  • Any chance for more destructibile terrain?
  • On every map at the starting area there is a long carpet. It has a line of shadows beneath at certain section. It bugs me couse it makes it look like its floating 😛
  • Many of your heroes are fat lore-wise. Basaically you have to cut to one period of their life. (i.e.my favorite fantasy of Sylvannas is her “queen”like look. Will you bring them back with skins?

BlizzDev_PIGonzales: Tom__Tom, thank you for the art team appreciation! Here are some answers?

-Yes, more visual talent feedback in the works -Yes, we’re doing more destructible terrain and adding some new assets that can be clicked on several times for cool interactions as well (like Hearthstone). -I’ll talk to Chaz about the carpet in the starting areas. -One of the most fun things about skins is the opportunity to do skins for different points in a character’s history! Look forward to more of these in the future!
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Do you plan to reward players post-15? And if you do, will the players that are already 15+ get these rewards?

BlizzDev_AlexSun: In a previous post, I mentioned players will unlock access to Hero League at 30 and Team League at 40. When we add Ranked Play, players who meet the requirements will automatically have those modes unlocked.
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Hello brilliant people! I have some questions to do.
1. Would Diablo 2 classes like Necromancer, Amazon, Druid become heroes in the Nexus?
2. After Diablo theme map would you eventually add a map from other Blizzard games like Starcraft or Warcraft?
3. I have heard rumours about a battleground in WoW that would be based on the basic DOTA map. Have you though about making a Heroes’ map based on a WoW’s battleground like Warsong Gulch?
Thank you very much for your hard work! I love this game!

BlizzDev_PIGonzales:

  1. Yes, Necromancer, Amazon, and Druid could happen. When? I don’t know.
  2. Yes, there are some long distance plans in the works for other Blizzard universe themed maps, nothing we can speak to in depth at this time.
  3. Heroes versions of WoW Battlegrounds are not out of the question.

Thanks for the love!
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I know it’s only been a couple of days, but I (and I’m sure many others) have out quite a few games in on Jaina. Based on the data you guys are getting, is she turning out like you all planned?

Also, a question for each of you individually: what hero is your favorite?

BlizzCooper: So far Jaina seems to be about in line with our expectations. Obviously it’s only been a few days so we don’t have a ton of data yet. As more time passes we’ll have more data which will allow us to better evaluate her balance and talent choices. Also, we’re looking forward to seeing how Jaina is used in competitive play.
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Deckard Cain would be a great addition to this game, are there any plans in the works to include him?

Also, are detailed post-game match stats coming soon? Great job so far, this is my favorite moba and it’s only in alpha.

BlizzCooper: Deckard Cain is a character that a lot of fans (and Devs at Blizzard) are excited about. There is a definite possibility of Deckard Cain joining the Heroes of the Storm roster in the future. We’ll be revisiting score screen in an upcoming patch and looking at player profiles as well.
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Hi Devs! Appreciate taking the time to do this AmA.(Talent) Can you please explain your design decision to keep Resurgence? In other MOBA/Brawlers, whenever the revive mechanic is readily available, it not only significantly disrupts the balance of the game but also artificially lengthens it.

(Talent) Bolt of the Storm/Resurgence are often taken in lieu of other level 20 heroic ability upgrades. I think that this is often because the level 20 heroic ability improvements are not compelling enough. Will you consider revisiting the level 20 heroic ability upgrades at some point?

(Talent) I find that are some heroic talents that are heavily favored over the other heroic talent regardless of the situation. For example, Anub’arak’s Web Blast vs Locust Swarm. I understand that each hero has different kits but Web Blast (and the level 20 improvement) is objectively worse especially when there are abilities like Void Prison or Devouring Maw that does damage AND damage multiple heroes. Another would be Void Prison vs Shadow Assault. Again, will these abilities be revisited or do you think most of them are in the right place now?

(ART) In regards to the recent character models updates, how many more heroes are in the pipeline that scheduled for an update and who will be the next in line?

So far I have been enjoying the game and I really like the gameplay and the art style. Keep up the good work!

BlizzDev_PIGonzales: Speaking to the art!

All the updates for current heroes are complete. ETC and Malfurion were the last in 2 year push to get the models up to a consistent quality which allowed better skin creation for the art team, and additional detail for animation such as full hands (no more meat-mitts) and facial detail for more expressive emotion.

We’re updating things internally that will be released at the same quality as the rest of the heroes from here on out. The versions of Sylvanas and Kael’thas we showed at PAXeast were updated internally already.

Additionally, the models we teased at Blizzcon 2013 (Youtube search can help here) are gradually being updated so they can roll out at 100%. The last ones I’d improved were Zul’jin, Cho’gall, and soon Rexxar. Release dates unknown 😛

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BlizzCooper: Resurgence: We recently made a change that increased the cooldown of this from 120->180 seconds. We feel this brings it closer in line with other powers at this tier. Internally we’re currently looking at all of the generic level 20s to see which ones are working and which ones aren’t. As part of this testing, we’re looking at the possibility of removing Resurgence and seeing how that impacts gameplay.

Generic vs. Heroic Upgrade level 20s: Absolutely. We have a pretty good spread between the level 20 picks currently but there are some that aren’t working. Ideally we’d like there to be multiple choices at each tier, and part of getting that right is revisiting talents that players are not picking.

Similar to above, yes we’re looking at these. One thing to keep in mind is we don’t necessarily balance a single ability on a character versus another single ability on a different character. We try to look at the kits and balance as a whole. Obviously it’s pretty hard to top Void Prison, so whenever we add another stasis (i.e. Web Blast), we’re not looking to make that equally as powerful. We’ll be happy with Web Blast when it’s roughly an equal pick with Locust Swarm which will likely require further tweaks on our end.

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@BlizzDev_PIGonzales is there a chance to see some skins based in other characters of the blizzard games? E.G , Deatwing is one of the most importants characters for blizzard but maybe put him in the game is not a possibility for alot of facts, and alot of people maybe want to see him in the game, so why not make a skin of deathwing in one of the actual heroes? Im a big fan of the blizzard art and i have made a fanart of a murky skin wearing a deathwing costume, so it´s murkwing! here is my art: http://fav.me/d81g8lb what do you guys think

BlizzDev_PIGonzales: Yes, the possibility of monstrous heroes like Deathwing, Zurvan, the Overmind, and Yogg Saron are not ruled out. We have ideas and testing to do, but the important takeaway is that these characters are not ruled out at all.

The fanart is awesome, this is why we love you guys!
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Why were there undocumented changes in the last patch? Mainly talking about Core change which went unmentioned.

Spyrian: Hi /u/notafraidtodie2

When putting patch notes together, I do my best to document all of the changes from all of the teams who worked on that patch. This process happens well before an update goes out to you and other players on patch day, (oftentimes a couple of weeks ahead of time) so that the patch notes have plenty of time to be translated into many different languages and formatted into a pretty blog post.

Whether it’s due to the advanced timeframe of documentation, a change moving from one patch to another, or simple human error, sometimes there are notes that slip through the cracks. We’re still working to improve our patch notes process for the future, but there will occasionally be “stealth” or “undocumented” patch notes from time to time.

In the meantime, some players find it fun to hunt these changes down, (I was one of those players before I started working for Blizzard, too!) but we hope to reduce the amount of undocumented changes significantly going forward.

We’ll be updating our December 2 patch notes soon to include the things we missed the first time around. Hope that helps explain what happens in these cases! 🙂
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Hey development team. I have a question that needs a little background elaboration first.

Given that (a) heroes have a high level of responsiveness, (b) the game has lots of skillshots and (c) CDs are low, it seems to me that you intended the hero vs hero interaction to be very focussed on hitting and doging skillshots.

That would make it somewhat similar to the interaction in League of Legends. In League, when you want to dodge a skillshot you often just need to turn your hero slightly (perhaps a 45 degree angle), but in HOTS this works differently for two reasons:

(1) Most abilities have a similar castrange as the auto-attack.

(2) Movement speed of heroes is lower

In HOTS if you want to dodge a skillshot, you will need to turn quite sharly (like a 90 degree angle), which – in the scenario where you want to escape from an enemy chasing you- results in your taking a less efficient escape-route relative to LOL (preferably you want to just move straight back).

Moreover, as the auto-attack range is lower than skillshot range in LOL, enemies will be able attack you with their auto-attacks, which isn’t the case in LOL. Therefore the reward for doding skillshots in LOL is higher than it is in HOTS.

There are obviously heroes in HOTS that have abilities where the cast range is higher, such as Anub Arak and Tyrande (Zagara’s banelings also have a higher castrange, but it moves so slowly that I don’t really consider it as being part of the hero vs interaction). But in general it seems that HOTS have opted for a different approach in the interaction relative to LOL.

Let me also be clear that I fully understand and agree with most of the innovations you brought to the genre, such as mercenaries, objectives, talents/no items and shared XP, but I cannot see the advantage of the HOTS hero vs hero interaction relative to LOL.

The skillshot interaction in LOL is the major part of what seperates a great mechanical player from a bad player, and has – over time – created some of the best highlight moments of the game. While I understand you want to create a very different game, I get the notion (given the low CD on skillshots, high responsiveness) that you wanted to make the game focussed on dodging skillshots, so that’s why I am a bit confused to the decisions to make the interaction work this way. Let me also specify that it’s not that you can’t dodge skillshots, but instead it is less rewarded/less practical in most situations.

So based on that I have two questions:

(1) Why did you opt for a lower movement speed of Heroes relative to other MOBA’s (LOL/DOTA/HON)? If the decision was a consequence of the implementation of the Mount, couldn’t you have balanced a higher movement speed around larger map sizes and maintained the relative difference between normal hero move speed and move speed on the mount?

(2) Why did you (for the most part) opt for a similar castrange of abilities as the auto-attack range? Doesn’t that just create a lower reward for dodging skillshots when attempting to escape?

Thanks in advance.

BlizzJohnzee: Good questions!

1) Mounts had a lot to do with the movement speed decisions we made. It’s true we could have blown up the map sizes, but we really wanted to keep map sizes relatively small because we wanted to keep game times short, and in general smaller maps help with that.

2) Depends on the ability. I think the reward for dodging skillshots is based on the power of the shot being fired – if it’s a stun, or big damage, for example – rather than the length the missile travels. Concerning cast ranges in general, we typically don’t want to make the cast ranges of abilities bigger than the visible area on screen, because then the player has to scroll around to aim. Of course we’re free to break that rule (Like with Tyrande’s [W] ability) – it’s just a general guideline.
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The artifact system was put into the game with many hero’s having their talents completely re-arranged to adjust for this system.

Blizzard recanted on the system quickly due to a very vocal portion of the community before hearing a full community reaction to it.

As a result, many heroes have been left for months with very obvious problems. Other heroes have found a strange footing they didn’t have before because of this.

*What is Blizzard’s current thoughts on customizing heroes outside of matches? (Regardless of it being a money sink or not)

    • Is a new system conceptually similar to the artifact system still being discussed. What details can you discuss about it today?
    • Are there any plans in place to address the severely affected heroes from the removal of the artifact system? (IE some tanks, healers and specialists)
    • What were the reasons for not allowing the system to have a more complete test cycle knowing that major changes to the game design had already been made and many heroes would be adversely harmed from the removal of the system?
    • What did Blizzard learn as a post mortem from this endeavor?

BlizzJohnzee: Wow, this is an awesome set of questions! I’ll try and answer these questions in order, as best I can.

      • We have gone back and forth about being able to customize Heroes outside of matches. Long ago, the Talent system was actually out of the game instead of in the game! We still have some ideas being thrown around here, so I wouldn’t count it out entirely, but we want to make sure we make the customization fun, easy to communicate, and accessible.
      • For the Heroes, we’re constantly evaluating the balance state and making adjustments as necessary. Removing Artifacts took out a large chunk of power from Heroes. We’re working on consolidating and refining Hero power into each Hero’s Talent set to bring all Heroes up to speed in terms of quality and power.
      • The feedback on Artifacts was pretty loud and mostly unanimous, and furthermore we aren’t as confident about the system ourselves (internal to the development team). It became clear we e
        ither had to commit to making it work or cut it as soon as possible and try to get back on track – we felt being indecisive would lead to a lot of wasted time and effort. The feedback was clear, so we cut it without the longer test cycle.
      • We learned a TON about player expectations, our monetization direction, testing priorities, Hero balance, the role of Talents in player customization, and much, much more. We’re still applying the lessons we learned from Artifacts to how we design in-game elements like Heroes and even Maps, and certainly out-of-game systems like player progression. To give a whole postmortem would take a while. We learn a lot more from our mistakes than our successes, and therefore we count the Artifacts endeavor was one of our more valuable lessons on many fronts!

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are mule and resurgence going to stay in the game ? if you want to promote fast games i dont see the point of these. i still take resurgence 100% of the time even if i hate to do it

BlizzCooper: We’re looking at Resurgence with part of doing our pass on level 20 talents. We feel that there’s quite a bit of counter play with MULE (it’s easy to snipe) so we don’t currently have plans to change how that functions. If we saw a dramatic increase to game length then we would absolutely investigate and make any needed changes. As a bonus to any MULE fans, we’re making some improvements to how the MULE prioritizes which structures it repairs. This should make it behave more in line with player’s expectations.
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Is there a specific hero the design team is really excited over releasing? (Don’t need specifics if you can’t give them. Tease us)

BlizzJohnzee: I just want to say one word to you. Just one word.

Are you listening?

Pyroblast.
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BlizzDev_PIGonzales: Sylvanas! She’s been waiting for 4 years to hit the Nexus!
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How is balance decided? Are you, from a developer’s standpoint, more interested in balancing the game around the majority of players, or are you more interested in balancing the game around the top players who can execute characters as close to perfectly as can happen? Does this balance decision influence future design plans, such as for heroes, maps, and the like, and in what ways does it create this influence?

I’m very curious, because I feel like this will tell how the game will fare in the rest of the market.

BlizzCooper: Hey Kraines, great question. It’s a challenge for us. Ideally we’d love it if all heroes we’re equally viable across all skill levels, but that’s not likely. When we’re making nerfs or buffs to a character to bring their balance in line we definitely think about how these changes will affect different demographics of players. For example, increasing the cooldown of ability but equally increasing its potency may help less skilled players as they have less micromanagement. For the higher skill potential characters (Abathur and Lost Vikings for example), we typically tune these characters for more competitive play. It may take a novice player more games before they’re as effective with Abathur as they are with Valla, but this is necessary to prevent a top player from absolutely crushing with these characters. As we’re designing new heroes, battlegrounds, talent reworks, etc. our balance guys are constantly making changes to fit these philosophies among others.
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One of my favorite characters in World of Warcraft was Vanessa Vancleef. Amazing boss battle, amazing background story, none of which needed to be told in a book/comic unlike pretty much anything else these days.

Is there a chance we could see her make a vigorous return in Heroes to enact her ultimate vengeance over house Wrynn? (Even if none of those have showed up in the nexus yet…)

BlizzDev_PIGonzales: Anything is possible in the Nexus! The challenge is always finding the appropriate way to represent a character and making additions to the game in a meaningful way.
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When Heroes of the Storm API will be available?

Trikslyr: Right now, our focus is on the in-game experience and getting more features into the game, but we definitely want to look into providing API support in the future.
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Hey guys! A few questions:

1a) How big is the technical design team?

1b) From my digging through storm files it seems like you guys use galaxy GUI for all ‘trigger’ work and a combination of GUI and XML for game data (commented out sections, etc). Is there a reason for this? Curious from a SC2 mod development perspective.

2) The MapMechanicLibs.galaxy references a “Horn of Cenarius” map. Has this been scrapped or reworked into one of the tw o new maps revealed at blizzcon?

3) @BizzCooper has the idea of Tyrael’s Cast Aside only affecting heroes been considered? Maybe it’s just me but it makes clearing merc camps a little trickier.

BlizzJohnzee: 1a) We have 11 Technical Designers on the team – myself included – filling a bunch of different roles from bug fixes, art and sound integration, systems and UI implementation, Hero design and implementation, and generally making sure the game doesn’t explode.

1b) We try and stick to developing in the SC2 Editor (or the more refined “Heroes Editor” internally, which is essentially the same system) for developing the game on the Tech Design side. Using XML for game data allows us to iterate extremely quickly… we put in a new Hero last week in about 4 hours, for example… and it also makes us “eat our own dogfood” when it comes to making the Editor robust enough for everyone to use, including modders using the Editor in the community. When we need to implement a more complex, game-wide system, or when certain Hero abilities get really complicated, we turn to script, and when things get REALLY dicey, we ask the programmers for help.

2) Very astute investigation! It’s currently “indefinitely postponed”… the idea was players would have to control the Horn of Cenarius, and if they did many of the trees on the map would come alive and attack enemy fortifications. We may pick it up again, or change the theme to be something different but keep the mechanic. Needless to say there are quite a few map ideas we’re working on!
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BlizzCooper: I don’t know if we’ve specifically considered Cast Aside only working on heroes but it’s an interesting idea. We’ve talked about this talent in general though. The amount of power it adds in the right situation is a bit scary (mini Forcewall). We’re also not sure if Tyrael really needs the ability to block people, and maybe we should embrace the supporty-tank vibe more. Perhaps when we hit up Tyrael for a rework in the future we can explore something like you’ve suggested.
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So of course there were many changes to certain characters deemed to be possibly too strong (Tassadar), but others were moreorless ignored (Tychus, pretty much Arthas). I like their design so I wouldn’t expect to see a re-work, but for particularly Tychus is there a reason you left him completely untouched? Do you have any plans for him?

BlizzJohnzee: Yes, we have plans for Tychus, and we’re certainly keeping an eye on other Heroes like Arthas. We try to make very deliberate balance changes, and sometimes that requires a lot of testing internally and continuously monitoring the current Live environment. When we’re not highly confident in the change, we’ll wait until the next patch until we’ve got that confidence.

It’s true that Tychus is pretty strong right now, and we think it’s largely because his Odin Heroic ability gives him that “second health bar”. We love this ability, so you’re right in that we don’t want to rework it entirely, but we definitely have some ideas on how to make it more engaging for the enemy team to react to.
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Jumping off that, I would argue that Chen has that issue as well, with the added bonus that his doesn’t even have cast time, making him extremely hard to kill. Is that being looked at too?

BlizzJohnzee: Yes, it is! But we think that the “second health bar” is a bit more appropriate for Chen because he’s a tanky Warrior Hero, and mechanic tends to fit the role. We are looking into different balance solutions that allows Chen to retain his health boost while (again, similar to Tychus’ s situation) allowing for enemies to engage with the character more through counterplay.
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Hi Phill! Obviously I’ve been a huge fan of your Starcraft work for years now, but seeing the revamps of old WC3 models, Anub’Arak and Stitches in particular, has been especially exciting for me. What has been your favorite model ever to work on, either for Heroes or in your time at Blizzard as a whole? Or, what would be the Blizzard design from the past you would most like the opportunity to update and make in the future?

Thanks to everyone involved in the making of this game, which I’ve had a ton of fun with (and thanks especially to PIGonzales for his activeness on deviantart)!

BlizzDev_PIGonzales: Hey xiaorobear! Thanks for the love!

I’ve been playing Blizzard games for a long time, and was hired after submitting my fan art so it is very much a dream job to work on so many of these characters. It’s hard to pick a favorite since I’m usually looking forward to the next hero in the lineup, but I’ve always had a love for the War 3 heroes I used the most: Blademaster, Mountain King, & Crypt Lord.

I collaborated with Joe DeAngelis on blocking out the Kel’thuzad model he was working on during Blizzcon on the Artists Stage. I’d love to see the character in Heroes, the Lich has such a cool look!

A Keeper of the Grove would be another wish-list hero. I’d love to get Dahaka (SC2: HotS) and Tosh onboard, D2 Amazon & Necro, and as many Prime Evils as possible.
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BlizzDev_PIGonzales: Shoutout to Joe DeAngelis, Kel’thuzad rules good choice you’re awesome the model looked awesome thank you for the art <33333!
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Can you guys share some insight on why Tyraels Heroic (Judgement) was nerfed?

BlizzCooper: Our intended design for Judgment was to allow Tyrael to initiate and quickly close the gap. Overall Judgment was doing too much damage and it was allowing players to quickly burst down our less hearty characters. We’ll continue to evaluate this change to see if we need to make more changes here.
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Are there any plans to add the concept of height to the game such as mountains and valleys? Higher regions block LOS, etc…

Also, are there any plans on adding a color dye feature to heroes to further be able to customize them.

(I would think this could be a level 10 option for 10k gold like master skin. So in theory you could have a customized color master skin but it would cost 10k+10k=20k gold and require level 10)

BlizzDev_PIGonzales: In regards to color dyes, we have some ideas in the works that aren’t a all out dye system but more akin to very deliberate color options (think sports jersey color combinations) that would allow groups to have nice consistent looks for all characters.
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Which heroes are you looking forward to adding to in the game (both in the near and far future)?

BlizzDev_PIGonzales: Near Future: Sylvanas Far Future: Mekkatorque
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With so many possible heroes coming in the future, how often do you guys plan to release and address fan requested heroes? I’m seeing an awful lot of suggestions for Diablo II heroes such as the necromancer or Mephisto, Artanis from Starcraft or Maiev from Warcraft.

BlizzDev_PIGonzales: Hero lineups are a pretty reactive list, we have things in the works that get shuffled frequently based on balance and community response. Many things will eventually manifest, but the schedule and order is always up to change. Source

A. Are you going to develop new heroes that aren’t in any of the current or future blizzard games?

B. Is there going to be more racially diverse heroes developed?

C. What is the thought process behind the look and color of the UI? i’m talking about the purple and blue space age background look of the client and menus.

Thanks for taking the time to answer guys! 🙂

BlizzDev_PIGonzales: A. Yes, we plan to do this. We have to make more “all-stars” than new heroes usually, but we absolutely intend to bring new blood into the Nexus as well. B. Yes, schedule unknown however.
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Hey guys, thanks for doing the AMA. I think this question might apply more to Johnzee than the rest of the team, but anyone feel free to jump in here. What criteria does the team use to decide what role a new hero will be given? For example, let’s use Jaina. She comes in as an assassin and has high damage potential, low survivability. Did the team ever iterate on the idea of making her a specialist? I could see her being more control focused and less bursty as opposed to the assassin role that she was given. Any insight you could share on the new hero development process would be awesome.

Edit: dem words.

BlizzJohnzee: Jaina was pretty much a slam-dunk in terms of figuring out which role she would fill: we wanted to make a Mage Hero, and Mages tend to dish out the damage, so it was mostly a non-question that she would be a caster-Assassin type character. We tried to use the Talent system to allow players to build Jaina focused either on burst damage or on more control.

But you’re right, Jaina could have gone either way, and for many Heroes the decision on which role they should fill can be a tough call. We choose Hero roles based on:

        • The Hero fantasy, based on player expectation and past games. For example, suppose we put in Grom Hellscream as a Hero – he’s a modified Blademaster in Warcraft III with some rage issues, featuring big critical hits and spinning his axe around to lop off heads. Maybe he’d be a good melee brawler/Assassin?
        • The visual look of the character. Take the D3 Crusader – she’s in full plate armor and typically is pictured with a meaty tower shield. Maybe she’d fit best as a tanky Warrior?
        • Finally, the demands of the game. Sometimes we change the design of a Hero if we need to fill a role that’s missing. Raynor, for example, used to be a specialist/siege character, but we wanted to make a simple Hero that newer players could start with. We modified Raynor slightly and gave him a new, more easily understood role of a ranged-damage Assassin.

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What are your thoughts about enriching the hero select screen? Right now there’s a significant amount of unused real estate that could be used to present additional information about the selected hero (universe, role, if playing them will contribute towards a daily quest). What are some things you’d be interested in implementing to further leverage the open space?

Sidenote, any flexibility on the decision to remove hero names from chat? Having them present allows macro players like Abathur to react more quickly to requests from teammates sent in chat.

BlizzDev_PIGonzales: The screen you speak of is going through a update this very instant!
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Is the Raynor model final? I love in-game art, but his face looks significantly worse than the rest of the heroes.
Thanks 🙂

BlizzDev_PIGonzales: I’ll look the Raynor model in the face and confront this issue.
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Any plans on Diablo 3 Monk as a playable character in Heroes?

BlizzDev_PIGonzales: There are plans for this I’ve seen them but that’s all I can tell you please understand.
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Do you guys plan no adding anymore heroes from the Diablo Series? I see a lot of potential in the Druid, Necromancer, Assassin, Paladin, Wizard, and Crusader. I also would really like to see those Heroes make it into the game before anyone of the Warcraft or Starcraft, that is a biased opinion.

BlizzDev_PIGonzales: I like that you owned your biased opinion! Everything is an eventuality, but the odds are in your favor with the Diablo-themed Nexus map in the works for next year.
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What do you think about many heroes having quite pointless talents? For example Valla’s talents that buff her trait seem rather pointless for an assassin as she can get bursted down very easily before she can get enough stacks to be able to be useful.

BlizzCooper: For a character like Valla there is a real trade-off between buffing your damage or choosing talents that make you more survivable (harder to chase down, etc.) In a perfect (Valla) world, you would choose all the bonus damage talents and annihilate the enemies. In most games, you’ll have to make tough choices. Do you need life-on-hit talents this game? How useful would two Vaults be? Assassin’s like Valla want to increase their damage. Often you’re playing chicken with how much you can stack your damage without instantly dying in a team fight.
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Seeing as Heroes of the storm is a kind of rumble arena for blizzard characters from all of your guys’ games. Are there any chances of characters from Overwatch being added in the far far future?

Trikslyr: Hey Tharokos!

Heroes of the Storm will not be adding any Overwatch heroes to the roster until the project is fully released. After the release of the game, adding Overwatch heroes can become a real possibility.

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What happened to the tempest regalia jaina skin? 🙂

BlizzDev_PIGonzales: The Tempest regalia skin will be patched in at a later date! Don’t worry, it hasn’t been cut!
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Who are your favorite heroes?

BlizzJohnzee: Nazeebo! Burraapp-hooah! zombies everywhere Source

BlizzCooper: I’ve been a huge Gazlowe fan since he was first introduced to the game. I love the chunkiness of his Deth Lazor and the huge payoff to doing it correctly. Turrets are amazing and the salvage mini game is fun. Recently I’ve been having a ton of fun with Lost Vikings. Being in all 3 lanes at once is super challenging but also provides your team with a huge advantage if done correctly. We may have to make changes to this in the future once you guys get your hands on them 🙂

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Hello, thanks for the AMA!

Ranked Mode

1) You guys previously said that you guys would like to have no bans for each team going forward, is it still the same plan? I still think bans should be implemented for each team, currently with not that big of a hero pool, 1 ban each team should be enough.

2) For Hero League, you guys stated that you can que up as a solo or a party of any size. This can be a huge balancing issues for either solo players or party players. How will you guys balance this to ensure us the highest quality of games in ranked mode so our experience won’t be ruined by matchmaking?

BlizzDev_AlexSun: Good questions. I can respond to your questions regarding Ranked Mode.

1) We don’t have bans as part of the draft mode process currently but it is a topic that comes up. Once Ranked Play is released, we’ll keep a close eye on feedback and see what makes sense for our game.

2) We’re actually taking measures right now in the Alpha by monitoring and refining the matchmaking in Versus Mode. Currently in that mode, players can queue up by themselves or a party of any size and we do our best to make those matches as fun and balanced as possible. One of the ways we do that is by heavily favoring parties of the same size. We actually checked the MMR distribution of everyone in the Alpha again yesterday and we’re still seeing a representative sample of all party sizes throughout the distribution and don’t see any advantage for a particular party size. We also play the games ourselves and get feedback from players within the company and from the community. So far, we think we’re on the right track and we’re optimistic that Ranked Play will feel fair when it is released.

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Ever consider adding heroes from Diablo 2 over Diablo 3? (Necro, Amazon, Druid)? Would kill to be able to play a Necro in heroes. 🙁

Also is there a certain goal of how many Heroes will be in the game when it officially launches?

BlizzDev_PIGonzales: There is not goal for official launch numbers, what is currently in testing will be available of course, and from launch on we’ll continue to add new Heroes as needed!

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Why some heroes summons can change targets and other can’t? Tychus Drill, Jainas water ele and raynor raiders can change target after they are summoned but Nazeebo Gargantuan and Kerrigan Ultralisk CAN’T, why is that? is it going to be fixed or is intended to stay that way. Also would be nice if the Random Hero select could only randomly choose from the heroes I OWN, avoiding the free rotation. I have 1 heroe for every role that I REALLY like playing and I don’t like a lot of heroes from the free rotation so I can’t use that feature.


BlizzCooper: For the Summon controls: It’s intentional that some summons can be re-targeted while others can’t be. This is something we’ve been discussing recently at the office. We feel like Hydralisk (for example) is a summon that we don’t want to allow players to re-target. This is a basic ability and is meant to be a short term fear mechanic (kill it or run away). Obviously, allowing players to re-target a summoned ability adds a lot of power to the ability. That said, we may add more control to certain summoned abilities. The Gargantuan currently acts more like a pet as it follows the Witch Doctor around. We’re not sure if allowing you to target a specific enemy hero with it would be correct, or if this would just be similar to Ravenous Spirit.

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Will you be updating more of the Hero models that are already in game? like you did to Malfurion and ETC in last patch ? If yes, which ?

BlizzDev_PIGonzales: Yes, BUT all the publicly released models are done with their updates.

The remaining updates have been shown in the Blizzcon 2013 video but the old art will be updated internally. We won’t be using old assets (like Malfurion and ETC) for placeholder anymore.

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Is there any chance we will be seeing heroes or content of any kind from games and franchises not owned by Blizzard?

Also will we be seeing more heroes from Blizzards older pool of titles?

BlizzDev_PIGonzales: There will be more heroes from Blizzard’s older titles. Patience!

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Can we expect all Lords of Hell to make their appearance in HoTs? and since we only got Barbarian in D3 will HoTs be where we can get to play D2 characters again like Amazon,Druid, Necromancer and Paladin?

BlizzDev_PIGonzales: You can expect all of those things, some sooner than others.

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Hi there.

I haven’t played a minute of the game, but I’ve watched a pile of videos and I honestly can’t wait to dive in! The game looks fantastic, and the design appeals more to me than LoL or DotA.

One of the options I’m most excited for is the different team compositions that will undoubtedly be viable as you introduce different map-types. In competitive LoL, for example, seeing the same 5 roles recycled game in and game out makes team building seem less thought-provoking. With HotS, I get the impression that different maps will call for different optimal group composition, and that you will have a lot of flexibility with new maps in the future.

I assume this was an intentional design decision, and thank you so much for making it. My question is, how have you approached balancing heroes and maps knowing how different various team compositions can potentially be. Have there been any heroes you’ve noticed perform far superior on map than they do on another? Or perhaps groups of heroes that you’ve seen unintended advantages on certain maps?

Thank you so much. My fingers are crossed regarding beta in January. Looking forward to trying out your game.

BlizzCooper: We’re especially excited about Draft mode coming soon because we definitely think there are certain heroes that excel on different Battlegrounds. It’s impossible for us to reasonably test every possible team composition internally, but we definitely try and hit the obvious ones (a team with global powers, a team with lots of mobility, multiple supports, split pushing, etc.) Mostly we’re happy that different heroes have strengths and weaknesses on different Battlegrounds. We’ve seen some unintended stuff with Sgt. Hammer, for example. On some early map iterations, she was able to safely Siege up and hit two enemy back towns from one location. In some situations this was pretty frustrating to play against and hard to counter, so we fix these kinds of issues.

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Questions about skin design Do you plan to or you will try to make thet every hero have at least one skin from each universes. Like:

  • Uther Medic
  • Cyb’arak

For examle:

  • Brightwing – Mutalisk skin
  • Kerrigan – Angelic skin
  • Chen – Cyber-Chen
  • Azmodan – Roach-Azmodan
  • Rehgar – Executioner-Rehgar

And many many more ?:)

BlizzDev_PIGonzales: We want to do all of this! The energy and effort to do so is divided onto new heroes, new maps, and all sorts of other pieces of artistic content that doesn’t’ allow us to go full blast on skins just yet!

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Thanks for doing the AMA! I have a few questions:

  • Are there any plans to allow players to set keypresses on mouse buttons? For example, attack-move key bound to left mouse button.
  • Are you considering allowing players to customize their UI? For example, changing the size the HP bar or location of the minimap.
  • Art wise, would you ever consider adding the possibility of weapon skins? For example, Arthas with Shadowmourne or Sonya with Thunderfury?

BlizzDev_PIGonzales: On the Art side, we’d experimented with picking weapons but it messed with the iconic look with many characters at a time when we were still developing how far we could push skins. We decided to try to maintain key features so skins, no matter how diverse – would always have iconic elements so players could identify the character. Weapons are usually left alone or changed carefully so the visual is recognizable.

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BlizzDev_PIGonzales: If we DO skins skins based around epic weapons, the skin will be themed around it too, so for example, a Thunderfury skin might be tied to a character in a Wrath or Might WoW armorset.

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Hey guys – 3D printer and cosplayer here. I tried cornering a bunch of the heroes staff at the signing booth at Blizzcon, but never got the proper audience.

Blizzard obviously cares about and embraces the Cosplay culture. You guys have one of the top-talent costume contests on the planet. You have a cosplay club on campus. You hired cosplayers for Overwatch before it was released.

Right now (and I have no problem admitting this, because we don’t share them), we put a tremendous amount of work into unpacking models from your games to clean them up for printing costumes. You guys seem to change your formats with every game/patch (stahp).

DotA2, for example, shares all of their models (in low-rez) in their workshop to encourage the community to develop new skins/armor: http://www.dota2.com/workshop/

Borderlands 2 releases cosplay guides with high-rez (although 2d) images from all angles:http://borderlandsthegame.com/index.php/news/us-handsome-jack-cosplay-reference-guide

So! Long-winded question… and you probably have a bad taste in your mouth from the whole “I’m actively stealing your work” admission above… BUT!

Please consider releasing some models or images under a http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.5/noncommercial sharealike license so creative people can make use of them and provide free hype for your amazing work.

Because we’re doing it anyway 🙂

EDIT: http://evolvegame.com/about/monsters/goliath Evolve, in alpha – “print your monster”

BlizzDev_PIGonzales: The Cosplay community is awesome and we love all the hard work that gets put forth by so many talented people. I don’t have an immediate solution for the ability to get useful art and guidelines to the Cosplayers supporting us, BUT we are very aware of the community and have some extremely talented Cosplayers working on our Development Teams who have the same concerns. Please keep raising your voice and give us the feedback to continue improving this relationship!

I hope the 360 turnaround ability in the Hero Store screen is helping to hold you over a bit.

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The blog post announcing ranked play notes that it uses draft mode to add excitement by allowing teams to counter-pick. However, are the HotS developers concerned that drafting will give teams who have bought more heroes an unfair advantage, relative to them having less heroes, by being more able to pick the optimal hero for their situation? And if so, is anything being considered to remove this unfair advantage by equalizing the size of the hero pools on both teams?

BlizzDev_AlexSun: Good question eigenscape. I think teams with more heroes than their opponents have more options to choose from but skill in strategy and execution is also extremely important, if not more. For example, I recently played a Versus game where I picked Nova because her role was optimal for the composition my team was running but we ended up losing because I died a lot and wasn’t able to secure kills.

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How long does it take to decide which talents should be allocated to a hero?

What decides the amount of a hero’s talents are designed to be unique to their kit?

Once a hero is decided on creation how long does it take to create their model and decide their class?

BlizzDev_PIGonzales: Creating the Hero artwork takes about 2 months for the Art, Rigging, Animation, Effects, and finally polish and presentation.

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Is it likely that Illidan’s Metamorphosis will get a visual change based on which skin is used (master skin more-so than the others)?

Muradin’s master skin Avatar looks different than his default one, and it pretty much does the same thing visually. With non-master skins, Jaina’s release skin changes the model of her water elemental.

BlizzDev_PIGonzales: Maybe. These are things we’d like to do but have to be picky about who gets the star treatment due to time constraints and other art on the menu.

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What does it take to work at a company like Blizzard? How does it differ from other companies you have worked for?

Any advice for a final year computer science student looking to get a foot in the door?

Thanks!

BlizzDev_PIGonzales: It takes hard work. Avoid shortcuts.

Blizzard has been the most supportive company I’ve been with in regards to encouraging quality above all else.

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Q1 do you guys have any plans to bring back Blood and gore effects they were so amazing!?

Q2 Was the Founders pack Idea Scrapped?

BlizzDev_PIGonzales: Q1 – No plans to bring this back.

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How do you guys feel about active talents right now? I’m asking this because I think it was awesome what was done to Jaina where she has her unique actives like Ice block and Icy veins, it feels as she has more skills than just Q/W/R you know? a lot of heroes have so many abilities in their own games that you guys have to decide which one goes and which won’t make it to the game, I think putting them as actives is a good solution and make for more diversity on talents.

I’m not a fan of generic talents like envenom, bolt of the storm where a lot of heroes have it, it doesn’t feel it belongs to them and it loses the feel of uniqueness each hero has, also sometimes it just doesn’t fit the hero lore like giving Envenom to Nova, that’s weird, but no so weird for Kerrigan for example. Do you guys have a plan to revisit talents in the future and make every talent unique for each hero and remove the current generic ones?

BlizzCooper: We have plans to revisit talents in the future. Currently we’re not planning on replacing all generic talents though. It’s possible we may need to ‘reskin’ certain generic talents to give more of a Nexus vibe (anyone can use this power). For example, MULE would make sense on a Terran hero, but what about a Protoss, Zerg, or Horde character? If MULE was reskinned to be a Nexus Repair Bot, then maybe it would work for all of those heroes? Ideally if we like the game play of Evenom on Nova will keep it. If it feels weird ‘lore’ wise, we can look at potentially changing it up, but not entirely sure if we need to do this all the time.

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Question for * BlizzJohnzee – Hero Design.

Any buff/changes for Diablo coming ?

Specifically Fire stomp feels realy underwhelming. Maybe buff the dmg and increase the CD ?

BlizzJohnzee: We’re working on a significant Talent rework for Diablo. 🙂

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This question isfor John…

How much different is life out in CA than back here in small ole Columbia?

BlizzJohnzee::D

Same amount of sunshine, and the people are the same kind of friendly. But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss THE REAL USC! Go Cocks!

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How open are you guys to hero and map idea suggestions from the fans?

BlizzJohnzee: We’re listening!

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Hi there,are you planning any changes and improvements to the spectator mode? Are you thinking about some special feature?

Cheers

BlizzDev_AlexSun: Yes we want to make watching fun, which is why we have a dedicated Watch section. We don’t have any plans we can share now but feel free to give suggestions in this subreddit and we’ll keep an eye out for them.

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Hi guys, thanks for taking the time to talk to us! I have a few questions:

  • @/u/BlizzJohnzee – Which level is the Game Designer position listed for your team? I have a lot of great ideas and am thinking about applying, but if it’s a Senior-level position I don’t stand a chance! My more on-topic question: How did you implement the three Lost Vikings? Do they simply travel in a pack of three, a-la Goblin Techies, or can you micro-manage them like Meepo? (anyone who went to blizzcon can probably answer this)
  • @/u/BlizzCooper – I love how talent trees give me so much room to diversify. What’s your favorite unconventional or off-role build?
  • @/u/BlizzDev_PIGonzales – First of all, the art direction of this game is spectacular. Every single skin and splash art looks amazing. My question is, what conditioner did your team use on Malfurion’s new hairstyle? its freakin LUSCIOUS. If you can’t mention brand names, I understand.

BlizzDev_PIGonzales: @ Anaklu!

Thank you for the love, the art team appreciates it! To answer your question (this is not an endorsement!), Malfurion used to use Pert Plus, a shampoo + conditioner combination, but his most recent look is achieved by his switch to Aussie Shampoo and Conditioner!

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BlizzJohnzee: We’re currently hiring for entry-level Technical Designer positions, so if you’ve got good tech-fu to back up your ideas, I’d encourage you to apply!

As for the Vikings… they were no mean feat. You can micro-manage them, send them to different lanes and such, and they have individual deaths/death timers. You can even have one Viking control the Dragon Knight or Plant Terror while you control the other two!

The Vikings required a ton of technical work, mostly because Heroes of the Storm was originally built under the assumption that players would only control one Hero unit at a time. The Vikings obviously threw a wrench into that assumption, so my colleagues and I had to spend a lot of time re-configuring base systems to make it happen. With all that work done, it’s a safe assumption that you won’t be seeing the last of micromanagement Heroes like the Lost Vikings 🙂

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Is there a plan on reseting again?

Spyrian: There are no plans to perform any more account wipes. We’ll also avoid any sort of progression adjustments/wipes in the future, unless an update makes it absolutely unavoidable (though that’s unlikely.)

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In your opinion, what are some pros and cons to the automatic team building that occurs during matchmaking? To explain further, unlike some other games in the same genre, Heroes of the Storm allows players to choose their hero before matchmaking. Then the matchmaking process takes into consideration the chosen hero and places the player into the appropriate team comp (at least this is my assumption). What do you think you gain/lose with this system?

Also if I am totally wrong about how matchmaking works, some info on how the system works to place players in a team would be cool. =)

BlizzDev_AlexSun: When we release Ranked Play, we’re actually going to be renaming Versus to Quick Match because we feel that more accurately reflects what that mode is about. You get to play the hero you want and get into a game as quickly as possible.

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The AMA is probably over, but I’ll ask my question anyway just in case.

I’m graduating in computer science in two years. What can I do now to make sure I can work with you guys on HotS someday? If you wouldn’t mind helping me build a career map to eventually land me a job at Blizzard, I’d love my life even more!

BlizzJohnzee: Get used to using the StarCraft II Editor, if you haven’t already. Play a lot of games and try and think critically about them. Get involved in game and other software projects to build your skills. Be receptive to feedback. And don’t give up 🙂

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Is there a chance you’ll make more options for coop vs AI games? Varying difficulties ala Starcraft 2? Although, I shudder at the thought of a no fog of war AI 🙂

I’m pretty bummed by the aggression and negativity of ‘hardcore’ players when I am a definite casual in the person versus person games, so I’d love harder AIs to go smack around, maybe for improved rewards.

BlizzDev_AlexSun: Yes. I don’t have an ETA on when we’ll have this released but it is being worked on now.

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How do you guys handle talents like rewind and promote overshadowing other talents? In the future will you continue nerfing things or will you buff other talents to be more viable?

Spyrian: Hi Qwerty 2143, /u/BlizzCooper answered a similar question here. Though the topic centered on level 20 Talents & Heroic Abilities, you can expect a similar mindset for talents at each tier.

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Cooper/Johnzee – Back in the day of Warcraft 3, there was a custom map called Hero Line Wars. One of the heroes you could select was called “Empath” – a hero who had no auto-attack. Her primary abilities were:

• Regeneration: Self cast only, rapidly restores HP to self, after a few levels, also restores mana

• Transference: Transfer HP/Mana to target hero, draining her HP/Mana in the process

Her other abilities involved debuffing enemies and minor, permanent buffs to allies on a long cooldown.

I’ve thought this was an insanely unique play mechanic, allowing a character to provide a heavy-duty support role and provide sustain to partnered heroes with a twist… Thoughts or impressions? Do you think something this drastic could ever work in Heroes?

BlizzJohnzee: Initially Abathur didn’t have an auto-attack himself (in fact, the original pitch was that he would be rooted in base, unable to move). We liked the idea of a Hero that didn’t have any direct combat prowess, so we tried to fit Abathur to that role.

We gave him back his movement and autoattack because we wanted him to have a “presence” on the map, but the principle is still the same.

We haven’t hit on many mechanics yet that we consider “too drastic” – just as long as they’re fun, clear, and as cleanly designed as possible.

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ENVIRONMENTS:

Any chance we will be seeing Starcraft, Diablo, Warcraft maps?

Kudos to the guys who made the towers? I love the feeling you get from destroying the enemy forts!

BlizzDev_PIGonzales: Yes, we plan on doing this.

I will pass your praise onto Steve, destroyer of everything.

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Please add more starcraft and diablo characters. Please also add a diablo support class. Two words. Deckard Cain.

BlizzDev_PIGonzales: OK!

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Will Azmodan be getting a basketball themed skin? Maybe have a red jersey on and he shoots hoops?

BlizzDev_PIGonzales: I don’t know. Fat white demons can’t jump.

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Sylvanas, when? 🙁

BlizzDev_PIGonzales: Early next year. Cross your finger.

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I’m probably too late but here it is:

Is there any talk of adding heroes that combine two universes?

Like maybe Abathur and Arthas come together to create the “Perfect Abomination” using Arthas’ necromancy and Abathurs sequence spinning.

And on that note, will any lore be added unique to the strange universe happening in the Nexus?

BlizzDev_PIGonzales: We do this for skins, but there are no immediate plans to make a default hero out of a character blending universes.

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Random art question. Whats up with Jaina’s pant suit look?

BlizzDev_PIGonzales: I like pant suits.

The intention was to bring her back to the Warcraft 3 costume, and add the WoW styling later on as skins.

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Crow

Bringing bad news from the burning western wastes of Arizona since 2013, Crow is also a dad, guild officer, game designer, and sci-fi/fantasy author. Follow him @unlimitedblack for memes, pictures of his kid, and occasional design insights.


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